Juventus Scudetto hopes are in tatters after Adolfo Gaich was gifted the winning Benevento goal by an Arthur Melo howler.
Juan Cuadrado sat out a ban with Aaron Ramsey, Alex Sandro, Merih Demiral and Paulo Dybala injured, so Federico Bernardeschi was used as a left-back with the new all-attack formation that did so well in Cagliari last week. Kamil Glik and Pasquale Schiattarella were big losses due to suspension for struggling Benevento, who also missed Fabio Depaoli, Iago Falque and Gaetano Letizia.
Cristiano Ronaldo got a hat-trick in Sardinia and within a couple of minutes had already flashed an angled drive inches wide, while Danilo had an effort charged down by Alessandro Tuia, but Benevento were more than holding their own in the early stages.
Perparim Hetemaj saw a dangerous cross only skim the heads of two teammates in the six-yard box.
Alvaro Morata pounced on an error to surge forward and force Lorenzo Montipò into a save at full stretch. A penalty was awarded for handball, but after viewing it on VAR, the referee saw Daam Foulon had been clumsy and threatened an own goal on the Dejan Kulusevski cross, but didn’t use his arm.
On the resulting corner, Montipò flew to push Matthijs de Ligt’s header out from under the bar and Morata fired the rebound over.
Ronaldo had the ball in the net only after he’d been caught offside on a Kulusevski pass, then Montipò came sliding out to anticipate Federico Chiesa, continuing the slide outside the area once he’d already gathered the ball.
Ronaldo also stung the goalkeeper’s gloves from distance, but Juve were very ineffective. CR7 turned quickly with a great first touch, but drilled wide from the edge of the area.
Chiesa only glanced a Kulusevski counter-attack, it bounced off Federico Barba and required an acrobatic Montipo save to avoid the own goal.
However, Benevento were gifted the opening goal thanks to an astonishing howler from Arthur, whose defensive pass across the face of goal was massively under-hit for Danilo, allowing Adolfo Gaich to sneak in and take advantage.
Chiesa wanted a penalty moments later for a Foulon challenge, but went down too easily and failed to impress the referee.
Juve were laying siege to the Benevento goal, but Montipò got to a Ronaldo finish from close range, Morata’s first touch was appalling as a corner came to the back post in acres of space, then Ronaldo’s chest and over-head kick went wide.
Ronaldo stung Montipo’s gloves at the near post and then Danilo fired over on the rebound, as the disorganised late rush was all individual moves and no genuine plan.
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